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You’ve Been Marooned By Kidnappers. Can You Escape At Dawn?


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Actually this is an extremely dumb plan by the kidnappers, and very poorly executed. You give any searcher longitude within a few minutes.  You give very strong indications of latitude also within a few minutes.  You allow the possibility of north and south to be eliminated.  You have to be close to land, a continental shelf or over a shallow seabed to have a sand bar configuration, further reducing search area along the longitude..  It has to be uninhabited and unvisited.  You have allowed weather images, wind, and potential air traffic routes to be analyzed. Any competent search team would have this narrowed down to only a few possibilities in a matter of moments.  The interesting question is could we track the mother ship the dinghy went to from existing satellite images and capture them inside of 24 hours.

Edited by Ditkaless Wonders
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I can figure out longitude (or at least tell my friends enough information to do it) by determining local noon (turn on the sat phone at sunrise and get a time, then turn it off.   Turn it on at sunset, get a time, turn it off.  Halfway between is local noon).   Difference between local noon on my island and my friends' local noon will give us an accurate difference in longitude.   

I could do latitude if I could accurately measure the ratio of an object to its shadow to get the angle of elevation of the sun at local noon.   Anyone got thoughts on how I can measure that shadow with the bag, the sandwiches or the bottles?

Edited by -fish-
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15 minutes ago, -fish- said:

I can figure out longitude (or at least tell my friends enough information to do it) by determining local noon (turn on the sat phone at sunrise and get a time, then turn it off.   Turn it on at sunset, get a time, turn it off.  Halfway between is local noon).   Difference between local noon on my island and my friends' local noon will give us an accurate difference in longitude.   

I could do latitude if I could accurately measure the ratio of an object to its shadow to get the angle of elevation of the sun at local noon.   Anyone got thoughts on how I can measure that shadow with the bag, the sandwiches or the bottles?

Length of day should get you latitude*. 

Sunrise should get you longitude.

 

 

* You might need additional information to determine whether you are north or south of the equator - but with all your money, your rescue teams can search along the longitude in two separate places.

 

Also - best to use the day to make a large SOS sign (or 2)  in the sand

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12 minutes ago, Sinn Fein said:

Length of day should get you latitude*. 

Sunrise should get you longitude.

 

 

* You might need additional information to determine whether you are north or south of the equator - but with all your money, your rescue teams can search along the longitude in two separate places.

 

Also - best to use the day to make a large SOS sign (or 2)  in the sand

Screw that.  I am searching the shallows, the sand flats, and the reef for Stone fish, lion fish, scorpion fish or rays  with the liverwurst for bait and my clothes for a net and my shards from the now not working sat phone as a blade.  I would try to get something I could toss to the kidnappers upon their return or stab them with. Maybe a nice sea snake.  By the time my recovery team got there I would be sitting on a pile of dead or dying kidnappers and doing unseemly things to their orifices.  Teach them to take my shoes.

Edited by Ditkaless Wonders
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1 hour ago, Ditkaless Wonders said:

If I were an ex-navy SEAL I would lay on my back in the water, use my erection for a mast, make a sail from my clothing and sail the hell on out of there, saving myself.

Your steel balls would weigh you down.

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1 hour ago, Ditkaless Wonders said:

Screw that.  I am searching the shallows, the sand flats, and the reef for Stone fish, lion fish, scorpion fish or rays  with the liverwurst for bait and my clothes for a net and my shards from the now not working sat phone as a blade.  I would try to get something I could toss to the kidnappers upon their return or stab them with. Maybe a nice sea snake.  By the time my recovery team got there I would be sitting on a pile of dead or dying kidnappers and doing unseemly things to their orifices.  Teach them to take my shoes.

Question.

What about fresh water?

Without more fresh water, your food supply really don't matter.

I  guess that there is some water to be found in food items, but not enough.

I have been trying to think of way to get more fresh water - any ideas?

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On the water, I think that perhaps a shallow well could find some water stored from previous rain, but going much deeper would start to introduce salt.

I am not an island adventurer, so I am not real sure how common this is.

I do think that finding a potential fresh water well would be one of my 1st tasks after rescue plans have been enacted.

I would also try to find a way to store any new rain that fell.

 

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1 hour ago, Man of Constant Sorrow said:

On the water, I think that perhaps a shallow well could find some water stored from previous rain, but going much deeper would start to introduce salt.

I am not an island adventurer, so I am not real sure how common this is.

I do think that finding a potential fresh water well would be one of my 1st tasks after rescue plans have been enacted.

I would also try to find a way to store any new rain that fell.

 

The only way you're getting fresh water is via rain or capturing condensation.

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1 hour ago, Man of Constant Sorrow said:

Question.

What about fresh water?

Without more fresh water, your food supply really don't matter.

I  guess that there is some water to be found in food items, but not enough.

I have been trying to think of way to get more fresh water - any ideas?

Difficult to make much without a good boiling receptacle and fire but yes, you can get a few scant ounces from placing salt water in a lower bottle exposed to the sun and having another bottle, inverted, on top of it to catch evaporation.  The top bottle should be shrouded in shade or cool wet sand to help the evaporation condense.  You can scour the shore for firewood, drift wood, and additional containers.  If you are very careful you can try to boil water off in a plastic bottle over a fire, but that is tricky.  Still, why worry, rescue is already on its way.  Think instead about retribution, killing the bastards.  What's next, why you are getting picked up there they are kidnapping something else you love, wife, kids, classic car.  Get ready to do them ugly.

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2 hours ago, gianmarco said:

Your steel balls would weigh you down.

No doubt an impediment at times.  Still, they can smack them together to set off sparks to start a fire and underwater the sound of them when clanged together can be heard half an ocean away, signaling other SEALs to come rally to your aid and to do so with bad intent, so there is that.

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26 minutes ago, Ignoramus said:

The only way you're getting fresh water is via rain or capturing condensation.

 

2 minutes ago, Ditkaless Wonders said:

Difficult to make much without a good boiling receptacle and fire but yes, you can get a few scant ounces from placing salt water in a lower bottle exposed to the sun and having another bottle, inverted, on top of it to catch evaporation.  The top bottle should be shrouded in shade or cool wet sand to help the evaporation condense.  You can scour the shore for firewood, drift wood, and additional containers.  If you are very careful you can try to boil water off in a plastic bottle over a fire, but that is tricky. 

On the fresh water, besides rain and condensation, I was hoping for something like this:

Lens (hydrology)

Quote

In hydrology, a lens, also called freshwater lens or Ghyben-Herzberg lens, is a convex-shaped layer of fresh groundwater that floats above the denser saltwater, usually found on small coral or limestone islands and atolls. This aquifer of fresh water is recharged through precipitation that infiltrates the top layer of soil and percolates downwards until it reaches the saturated zone.

I am just not sure if this island meets the criteria.

IRT making my own fresh water from salt-water - yeah - distillation and evaporation/condensation techniques are the way to go.

 

8 minutes ago, Ditkaless Wonders said:

Still, why worry, rescue is already on its way.  Think instead about retribution, killing the bastards.  What's next, why you are getting picked up there they are kidnapping something else you love, wife, kids, classic car.  Get ready to do them ugly.

In the big plan I am writing up, I want to include as many plans as possible - contingency plans.

I like your plan, but:

1) On my own, I do not know if I could do it - even with you as a "contact" via the sat phone

2) As great as it is, I don't think any plan is 100%

3) I want to maximize my survival percentage over everything else - BUT - do it ethically.

I don't need to do the baddies ugly myself. Actually, I am not very good at that kind of thing. I think it would work well for you though. Rather, I want to minimize the chances of this happening to someone else (which does include doing "ugly") the best way that I can - while living.

 

I still have much to think about, and we are past to submission date for an answer.

Actually, I think the Riddle itself does not ask for these details. I just want to include them all anyways.

 

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4 hours ago, Ditkaless Wonders said:

Actually this is an extremely dumb plan by the kidnappers, and very poorly executed. You give any searcher longitude within a few minutes.  You give very strong indications of latitude also within a few minutes.  You allow the possibility of north and south to be eliminated.  You have to be close to land, a continental shelf or over a shallow seabed to have a sand bar configuration, further reducing search area along the longitude..  It has to be uninhabited and unvisited.  You have allowed weather images, wind, and potential air traffic routes to be analyzed. Any competent search team would have this narrowed down to only a few possibilities in a matter of moments.  The interesting question is could we track the mother ship the dinghy went to from existing satellite images and capture them inside of 24 hours.

I have also been thinking about this.

I trust your knowledge, but on my own, I just do not fully comprehend. I don't have the experience with rescue operations or data necessary to think this through myself. Could I learn all that I needed in order to make this happen with 1 minute of phone conversation?

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I don't understand why using the day phone isn't a dead giveaway to location.  I mean, the phone company will easily be able to determine location based on signal strength relative to their satellites, assuming at least two are in range.  Or, the sat phone transmits GPS location directly.  All cell phones for this, btw.  It's used for 911 calls.

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2 hours ago, Man of Constant Sorrow said:

I have also been thinking about this.

I trust your knowledge, but on my own, I just do not fully comprehend. I don't have the experience with rescue operations or data necessary to think this through myself. Could I learn all that I needed in order to make this happen with 1 minute of phone conversation?

You can, and have already in your life, uyou just are not use to processing the information for a one minute call.  

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6 hours ago, Man of Constant Sorrow said:

On the water, I think that perhaps a shallow well could find some water stored from previous rain, but going much deeper would start to introduce salt.

I am not an island adventurer, so I am not real sure how common this is.

I do think that finding a potential fresh water well would be one of my 1st tasks after rescue plans have been enacted.

I would also try to find a way to store any new rain that fell.

 

Don't the alt-right/incels drink their own pee these days anyway? I don't know if this is a viable option and I'm sure as hell not researching it but I will throw it out there as an option. Too salty?

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3 hours ago, Northern Voice said:

Don't the alt-right/incels drink their own pee these days anyway? I don't know if this is a viable option and I'm sure as hell not researching it but I will throw it out there as an option. Too salty?

You can in a pinch, but it will contain concentrated waste products and possible cause you to vomit, defeating the purpose. You’d do better to construct a Solar still

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Oh, and failed kidnappers, be aware, I would use my wealth to hunt you down after I got off that sand spit.  It would amuse me to use 10 times the money you hoped would be paid for ransom to hound you to the ends of the earth and then to do you ugly.  This would not be over with my rescue, it would only be beginning.

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29 minutes ago, Ditkaless Wonders said:

Oh, and failed kidnappers, be aware, I would use my wealth to hunt you down after I got off that sand spit.  It would amuse me to use 10 times the money you hoped would be paid for ransom to hound you to the ends of the earth and then to do you ugly.  This would not be over with my rescue, it would only be beginning.

DW - and the doods didn't let his daughter go...

Uh-oh, for them!

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I've been thinking about this a lot and finally found something online...

 

 

 

 

Meaty Sandwich

For some, peanut butter is a handy substitute for any sandwich spread. For instance, Justin grabs his jar of JIF whenever he runs out of mustard.

But sometimes he likes to make this special meaty sandwich on purpose:

Spread one slice of bread with peanut butter

Add one thick slice of Braunschweiger (that is a type of pork liver sandwich spread)

Top with a slice of cheese

Add a dab of relish

Spread other slice of bread with mayonnaise

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2 minutes ago, Walking Boot said:

We had it. Call at exactly daybreak to establish longitude, quickly hang up, and make another call at exactly sunset to fix latitude. 

And if it's around the time of the equinox, use the shadow from a water bottle to figure out hemisphere. 

My curiosity went to two matters, Man of Constant Sorrow was going to post a lengthy reply and I was also curious as to what the originator thought the answer was, not what we know, but what they thought.  Sort of interested to see if they touch on phosphorescence at all.  Also the distance to the mother ship, as if this is in a very shallow, very extensive reef system, say the Great barrier.

 

I do question those wanting to make two calls.  I am not clear that is allowed by the parameters of the question.  It does say one call but it also does say one minute of time.  It is not clear though that the minute can be distributed over two or more calls.  In other words I enjoy the discussion and don't really care for the official answer, but am curious about how they structure it.

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48 minutes ago, Walking Boot said:

We had it. Call at exactly daybreak to establish longitude, quickly hang up, and make another call at exactly sunset to fix latitude. 

And if it's around the time of the equinox, use the shadow from a water bottle to figure out hemisphere. 

I was thinking there might not be enough time for two calls and there might be a different solution.  Kind of disappointing.

 

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Quote

You call your people, knowing that what you say will be communicated to the best person to receive it, at exactly daybreak. You tell them, “I’m OK, it’s precisely sunrise. I’ll call again at sunset.” At exactly sunset, you make the second call, saying, “It’s exactly sunset, and I’m still OK.” You even have a few seconds left on the battery for contingencies, but none should arise.

I mean, you have to say more than that.   You may have to explain you're kidnapped, on an island of a particular shape and size, that you are requesting rescue, that you only have a minute of battery life, what your plan is about time of sunrise and sunset and a second call, etc.  That's going to be hard to do in one minute even without a second call.

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On 6/7/2019 at 8:01 PM, Sinn Fein said:

1st call - at daybreak - to your super smart friend:

"Hello, this is sinn fein, I've been kidnapped and am on an island - its now sunrise.  I'll call again at noon and sunset."

 

2nd call at noon:  "Its now noon."

 

3rd call at sunset:  "its now sunset."

 

Noon call may be superfluous - but sunrise gives you latitude, length of day should give you longitude. 

 

ETA - it presumably gives you two longitudes, on either side of the equator, but now you should be able to get search and rescue to both locations.

I should have submitted my answer (other than getting Latitude and Longitude backward):  

 

 

You call your people, knowing that what you say will be communicated to the best person to receive it, at exactly daybreak. You tell them, “I’m OK, it’s precisely sunrise. I’ll call again at sunset.” At exactly sunset, you make the second call, saying, “It’s exactly sunset, and I’m still OK.” You even have a few seconds left on the battery for contingencies, but none should arise.

Your call at sunrise locates you along the great circle between the poles at the penumbra — the space between shadow and light. You don’t know what time it is, but your people do, so the line of penumbra at that moment constitutes a line of longitude between the poles of globe illumination. Your second call provides a crucial piece of information: how long daylight lasted where you are, which fixes your latitude.

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On 6/16/2019 at 10:19 AM, Rich Conway said:

So the answer to the original question is "no", then?  According to the official 538 answer, you make two calls, at sunrise and sunset, but the question was "can you escape at dawn?"

Divorce ransom answer the best so far.

Actually, that was not the question.  The question was "What will you say?" with your 1 minute of phone time.  You were to have a plan worked out by dawn, presumably so that you didn't miss the sunrise call opportunity.

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On 6/14/2019 at 11:54 AM, Ditkaless Wonders said:

My curiosity went to two matters, Man of Constant Sorrow was going to post a lengthy reply ...

Sorry man, I am a bit late.

We were discussing island survival in another thread, and it reminded me of this one. 

1st, congrats to those who got the correct answer. I incorporated @moleculo's version into my big plan, but I did not name it as my primary option. Thus, I failed the official riddle. However, I will still defend my losing answer.

I now acknowledge that the riddle was looking for the "technical answer" to escape, but I never really approached it from that angle. Rather, I saw 2 questions in the riddle.

1) In the title of the riddle:

Quote

You’ve Been Marooned By Kidnappers. Can You Escape At Dawn?

2) In the text of the riddle:

On 6/7/2019 at 4:20 PM, Juxtatarot said:

Before daybreak, you’ve worked out exactly how you’ll use that minute of time on the satellite phone so that your people, who are also not stupid, will be able to dispatch rescue.

What will you say?

Therefore, I am primarily focused on answering the bold above. My goal is to maximize my survival percentage while being as ethical as possible.

My first consideration is the kidnappers themselves and what they said to me. The quote below contains all of the information passed to me by the kidnappers:

On 6/7/2019 at 4:20 PM, Juxtatarot said:

That’s a satellite phone,” the figure growls. “It’s got one minute of battery left in it. Use that to call your people to let ’em know you’re not dead — but not until daylight.” He tosses a paper bag next to the sat phone. “That’s some sandwiches and water, enough for a few days. That’s salt,” he explains, waving toward the surf. “If your people pay our ransom,” he continues, “We’ll come get you. Otherwise, there won’t be any more paper bags. Remember, wait until daylight to make that call.”

I am taking this riddle literally and am assuming that no other information was given to me. From this, I can construct my basic theory on the situation.

  1. I have a satellite phone with one minute of battery life.
  2. I have been instructed to not use it before daylight.
  3. I am to call "my people" to let them know that I am not dead.
  4. If "my people" pay their ransom, I will be retrieved.
  5. If my people do not pay their ransom, I will be left in place, with no future supplies from the kidnappers.

Now, what is not said?

  1. The kidnappers provide no information on how to contact them for payment details. Therefore, they must be in a position to make the needed contact with "my people". How will they do that? They will be tracing my call - and most likely be listening in. It is their phone after all. This is the only way that a deal can be reached because neither I, nor "my people", know how to contact them. They will have to make contact later with whomever I call.
  2. The kidnappers do not say how many calls I am allowed. They only give me a total battery life time. Will they cut off my phone after the 1st call even if I do not use all of my minute? I would do this, as I can now deal directly with the contact.
  3. If they are listening in, will they cut off the phone if they suspect that I am providing information that will allow a rescue operation? Most definitely, imo.
  4. If they are listening in, will they come and retrieve me (or kill me) if I successfully pass along info that will allow a rescue operation? I don't know, but I think it depends on the potential profit. If I am a likely big $$$ guy, then it may be worth it to move and try again. If I am not that lucrative, then a bullet to my head from off shore would do nicely. They are closer to me than any rescue team and have the time and motive to make this a loss for my party. I do not think that they would just allow my rescue; it would not be good for their reputation.
  5. In this scenario, is it possible for me to successfully pass along info that would allow for a rescue? Yes, but I argue that it is a long shot that must be deftly handled.

Therefore, I still believe that my original position of preparing to pay the ransom is the higher percentage play here - if I want to survive. 

At this point, I am going to quote my earlier thoughts:

,

On 6/8/2019 at 9:39 AM, Man of Constant Sorrow said:

Here is my reasoning.

  • After seeing how complicated this is, I do not believe that I could devise a 100% solution.
  • Thus, I need to weigh my guess of my escape odds vs. my trust in the kidnappers word.
  • These kidnappers seem pretty dang organized. And, that means they are prolly good at what they do. Good kidnappers need to be trustworthy in order to succeed - or else they would not keep getting ransoms paid.
  • In the end, I trust the kidnappers more than the smarts of me and my friends.
  • Since I am rich, no biggie.
  • I may lose this way, but I have more confidence in it than my best escape plan.

 

Call to friends after daybreak:

Pay the ransom.

 

On 6/9/2019 at 11:11 AM, Man of Constant Sorrow said:

Thus, (at this point) I would make a brief call to "my people" after daybreak and explain my situation quickly. I would state that I don't think I can afford the ransom, but I would prefer to buy my way out regardless - through negotiation. I would ask my contact to get all available funds ready - BUT, I would NOT mention a specific amount, and I would say something like, "Yeah - I know funds are limited - I don't even want to know the actual amount. Don't tell me. Just have funds ready."

My true purpose for negotiation would not be to save money (I am super rich), rather it would be to persuade the kidnappers that "milking this thing further" would not be to their ultimate benefit. Of course, I do not know if the kidnappers are listening in on my phone call or observing me remotely - it is possible though. The important thing to establish, is that I am not too quick or eager to agree to the terms - whatever they are.

In this riddle, there is no info about how "my people" will actually contact the kidnappers. 

I have addressed the bold at the top after thinking more on it. I now believe that the kidnappers must be listening in and must be the ones to make contact with "my people".

On 6/9/2019 at 11:11 AM, Man of Constant Sorrow said:

So, the "negotiation" that I desire is not readily apparent. Therefore, the only way I can think of to make the kidnappers believe that I am not an easy mark - is to delay. I will take my time.

After the 1st brief call, I will hold out - and enjoy the lovely sandwiches, water and beach.

Quote

The case of Somali piracy is an excellent example. Somalis had hijacked a few ships a year for decades, releasing hostages after a few months for low six-figure sums. Yet when nervous negotiators tried to accelerate this process by offering million-dollar ransoms, Somali piracy escalated and became a threat to global trade. It is therefore in the financial interest of those being issued ransom demands, as well as their moral responsibility, to try to limit the payments.

The quote above is what I would think about between the 1st and 2nd calls to my contact. I want to be a morally responsible citizen, but I also want to live. After that contemplation, I would decide to do my best to live - but also to live morally.

 

Once out of supplies, I would have maybe a week (3-4 days is actually more typical) before succumbing to thirst and dehydration. I could go longer without food (about 3 weeks), but with no water, that does not matter.

Therefore, I have made my 1st call and am now thinking about my next move. I have 3-4 days marked as my deadline.

At this point, Moleculo convinced me that his plan was good. Not 100%, but good.

On 6/9/2019 at 11:46 AM, Man of Constant Sorrow said:

OK. While I am playing my delay game, I will do my best to follow @moleculo 's procedure as discussed in the quotes above.

On 6/9/2019 at 11:11 AM, Man of Constant Sorrow said:

Thus, (at this point) I would make a brief call to "my people" after daybreak and explain my situation quickly.

I would time this 1st call per Mol's plan.

On 6/9/2019 at 11:11 AM, Man of Constant Sorrow said:

After the 1st brief call, I will hold out - and enjoy the lovely sandwiches, water and beach.

I would modify this part of my plan to this:

2) Make 2nd call per Mol's plan

 

Now, after doing this, I have set in motion @moleculo' s - I believe - please correct me if I am wrong.

 

At this point, I have made 2 calls - to set 2 potential plans into action. It is now time for me to sleep and think about the next move.

OK, after thinking more, I may not have the chance to make a 2nd call. Thus, all things pertaining to that are conditional. Will I be able to get it past the kidnappers successfully and safely? I do not know, but even if I do, would it work? Or, would I be moved or killed? I do not know.

However:

On 6/9/2019 at 11:57 AM, Man of Constant Sorrow said:

In a certain sense, I have completed the requests of the riddle.

From riddle itself:

Quote

Before daybreak, you’ve worked out exactly how you’ll use that minute of time on the satellite phone so that your people, who are also not stupid, will be able to dispatch rescue.

What will you say?

I have already answered what I would say, even if I have not chosen which actual plan I will eventually use. I have my plan to pay the ransom and @moleculo's plan for escape both initiated with this call.

 

From the riddle title:

Quote

Can You Escape At Dawn?

This is the tougher question to answer. However, since I have decided to play the long game, the answer - for me - is NO. I cannot escape at dawn because dawn is the point when I 1st begin my plan by calling my people. It will take time for the actual Escape to occur. Thus, I can't Escape at Dawn.

In order for me to escape at dawn, I will either need to find a way to do it all by myself - or - break the kidnappers rule of not making any calls before dawn. If I break this rule, then I lower my chances of living in the long run.

By my math, breaking the kidnappers dawn call rule is not worth it.

So - I have my answer to this - No.

 

This does not mean that a possible escape by dawn is not potentially doable - but - I have already spent that amount of time trying to figure a way off - and have not found an answer. Thus, in the real life scenario, I most likely would not have found an answer either.

Again - this supports my answer of No.

Therefore, I do not think that the answer requires any further detail.

 

OK, I know this is a "wrong" answer, and I did not really type it all up coherently, but I at least wanted to defend my position.

Thnx again for the riddle @Juxtatarot. This was fun.

 

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